Furnace maintenance tips to help keep your system running strong

With the dawn of winters, the temperature starts to plunge low and hence, the need to have an effective heating system increases. Most households have Furnaces that keep the house warm and cozy through the cold morning and chilly nights. With time these furnaces can malfunction or tend to work with lesser efficiency, so you need to acquire the skills to keep it running for a comfortable time. By maintaining the furnace yourself you will save on cash and will acquire handy skills for later use. We have laid out tips for maintenance but, before you get your hands dirty, there are some precautions that you must take. Make sure to turn off all electric supply, or in case of a Gas Furnace, switch close the main gas supply.
Moving on to the tips:

- Initially, inspect the burner flames so as to ensure that the heat is provided evenly. The flame should be of blue color and should not look irregular. If the flames are yellow, this means that the burner is dirty and needs servicing.

- Use a vacuum to clean between the burner and blower. Make sure to reach hidden gaps and small holes that have accumulated dust and other dirt particles.

- Gently take off the blower by unscrewing it and try to clean it with a dry cloth or air. You can also use thin brushes to clean the blower blades, however, make sure to apply less pressure and not damage the mechanics of the blades.

- Furthermore, look to replace the air filter and get a high-quality fiberglass air filter that blocks out the dirt but, does not strain the blower. Try to seal any open ducts that may lead to leakage. Use metal tape as it covers well and is safe for heat and electricity.

- Use a drinking straw to blow a thin line of air onto the pilot to remove the dust. The dust may block and lead to a false reading of the pilot not operating, which may lead to malfunction.

- Moving on, inspect the belt so it should be firmly on the motor. The belt should not be damaged with cracks, if it is then, replaces it with a new belt which wouldn’t cost much. Slightly, loosen the belt screws and slack the belt to pull it out for replacement. A well-working belt improves the efficiency of the motor, overall improving the furnace’s performance.

- Finally, oil the motor and bearings to avoid any rusting or unwanted residue. A furnace is a mechanical machine and with friction these components heat and deteriorate, so it is better to keep them lubricated for high performance.

With these tips and your expertise, you will feel comfortable with an effective running heating system all through the harsh winter. Basic maintenance for such equipment can improve their efficiency and can make them durable. On the contrary, not maintaining the Furnace and not giving it the necessary tune-up required, you are setting yourself up for unexpected breakdown, hike in energy bills and compromised efficiency. 
Become a smart homeowner. Try out these DIY maintenance tips. 


Combine new HVAC system with these two to get the best results

And here comes a problem faced by every other Toronto homeowners when it comes to the attempts of upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. Homeowners complain that even after them having upgraded their HVAC system to the most efficient units they could possibly afford, the expected efficiency is nowhere seen and energy bills have not significantly dropped. The reasons behind this could be two. One is faulty ductwork while the other is failing attic insulation. As long as these two do not support the new system enough, optimal efficiency should not be expected even if the system is brand new and super-efficient. Below we discuss why attic renewal and ductwork fixes should be combined with upgraded system installation. 

Why is attic insulation renewal important?

HVAC professionals tell that the heat loss that takes place, 25% of it takes place through the attic. This means, failing insulation even if it is combined with an efficient system will fail to deliver the expected efficiency as a bulk of heat loss with continue to take place. With a failing or uninsulated attic, the indoor warmth is lost in no time in winters while in summers, humid and hot air penetrates easily in the attic and from there into your home. And this suggests, no matter how hard your system was trying, it will continue to fail to meet the expectations. Also, a new system when it runs longer and harder speedily loses its efficiency. 

Faulty or Leaky Ductwork

Here's another factor that contributes to hindering the efficiency of a newly installed system and that is faulty or leaky ductwork. Blockage or leaks in ductwork do not let the airflow run smoothly through it and as a result, the system has to push harder and longer. Resultantly, no or very insignificant change is observed in the utility bills.

What else to do to ensure optimal efficiency?

Look out for gaps

Gaps in the attic often play a prime role in not allowing the attic to work as an absolute combater. Look out for gaps and fill them properly.

Don't forget ventilation

Most often, homeowners forget to provide the attic with proper ventilation. Remember that although the purpose of the attic is to seal, there still is a need to allow some ventilation so that the moisture doesn't make way into the attic and over humanity does not create marks.

Bottom Line

As a homeowner investing in home comfort heating and cooling, please remember that a well insulated home and well-kept ductwork can save you bucks on energy bills. Contrarily, upgrading to new systems and not renewing attic or not fixing ductwork flaws is synonymous with enjoying no significant increase in comfort and a decrease in energy bills.

A professional's recommendation, therefore, is that while having a new system installed, allow a professional to inspect the attic and ductwork so that he might suggest if any changes are needed to be made.

Act wisely and make sure when you invest your hard earned money on HVAC, you always make the most of it.


Air Duct Cleaning - Bet you did not know this

This is 2020 and the debate of whether or not the air duct needs regular cleaning is still as hot as it was. While some suggest that air ducts don't need cleaning and cleaning creates more mess, others opine that the dust and debris from the air ducts impact the homeowner's health and therefore, the ducts need to be cleaned thoroughly after a period of one year. So the question is; should everyone have their ducts cleaned and does cleaning the ducts really make a difference? Let's explore.

What does EPA say?

Environmental Protection Agency of the US has clearly explained that no evidence exists, proving that duct cleaning improved the health of the homeowners and therefore, does not endorse a duration as one year and that too as a must. The reason why there are so many articles over the internet on the importance of duct cleaning is that an entire industry has built around this issue as a result of the demand from the homeowners. Homeowners want to have their ducts cleaned and are willing to pay a heavy amount for that while on the other hand, the cleaners are willing to hunt more and more customers. As a result, a mindset hs created convincing homeowners to have their ducts cleaned and convincing them to the point that they are found attributing all kinds of respiratory or bad indoor air problems to the ducts.

Does Duct Cleaning make all the difference? 

The truth is, cleaning alone cannot help as long as the root of pollutants is not identified and removed. For instance, if the duct builds up mold and mildew which causes odor and allergies in the indoor, the solutions lie not just in cleaning but also in fixing the causes that promote the production of these; for instance high humidity.

Does duct cleaning improve HAVC performance?

Another myth needs to be debunked which is; duct cleaning drastically improves HVAC efficiency. The airflow may improve as the clogged filters are cleared and the duct is cleaned; however, a significant change in the system's efficiency should not be expected and having ducts cleaned only to improve efficiency, therefore, makes no sense.

Okay, so what is the best time for Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning has no fixed duration and must be done on an "as needed" basis. People living in relatively less polluted areas may not be in need of duct cleaning for years. 

If this is optional and not a must, what then is the ideal time to have the duct cleaned? Well, the ideal time is, "when it's needed". And as a homeowner, you can better decide when it's needed. When a stale air is felt from the registers, when throwing a torchlight from the register reveals massive clogs of debris stick to the walls and when the duct filters start to get dirty very frequently, you can plan to have the duct cleaned thoroughly by a trusted HVAC contractor. Such a time may come for you, only after using the same ductwork for years and years. For routine cleaning, using a vacuum from registers openings and using good quality air filters can do the best job.

So yeah fellas! It's not "a must after a year"


How to Choose the Right and Energy Efficient Thermostat

A heating and cooling system, whether it’s an LPG, gas, or oil-fired unit can only produce optimal home comfort when it is disciplined by the right Thermostat and ideal settings.
A right thermostat is one that delivers demonstrated energy savings and reliable performance with improved convenience and insight, not to mention, the computability with your HVAC system.

There are many brands offering smart thermostats that are energy-efficient, and control temperature based on your lifestyle. With a plethora of thermostats available in the market, choosing the right one often becomes a sticky-wicket for homeowners. 

In this blog post, you’ll get the knack of how to select the right thermostats for your home and what new advancements are there in the Thermostat types.
Let’s first read over the different types!

Manual Thermostats 

A manual thermostat is a round unit that is a simple and economical. Generally, it is found in old homes where homeowners manually move the needle up or down to adjust the unit according to their comfort level. These devices are less energy-efficient however, they work well for those who want a fixed temperature. 

Programmable Thermostats

A programmable thermostat unit enables to input customized settings for every day of a week. You can make the most efficient use by adjusting the temperature throughout the day. These units can save much on heating and cooling costs. However, homeowners must choose a model that is compatible with their HVAC system. 

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat is a WiFi-enabled device that allows you to manage your heating and cooling remotely from a laptop, tablet or mobile. There are other great models in market that incorporate more sophisticated features like they learn from your previous choices and adjust temperature accordingly and some may use automation and optimization feature and access the right timing of turning your system on. 

Room Thermostats

These thermostats maintain the best temperature and prevent your home from getting warmer than it needs to. You should set this at the lowest possible comfortable temperature.

Room thermostat should be given a free flow of air in order to sense the temperature more precisely. Homeowners should ensure there is no blockage due to any heat source, furniture, or curtains. 

Hot water Thermostats

Hot water thermostat is for those who store water in cylinder and want to prevent it from heating more than it needs to. The heat supply from the boiler automatically stops as soon as water reaches the temperature you have set.
For the best performance, you must install a thermostatic mixing valve that automatically ensures that water is at a safe temperature. 

Get energy-efficient-home with a programmable thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can run a scheduled heating and cooling program without manually changing the setting throughout the day. The best part is you can change the temperature six or more times in a day.

The 7- days thermostat: The most adjustable thermostat that offers a setting for every day of the week. This model is perfect for those that want temperature changing daily.

5+1+1 thermostat: With this unit, you can set one setting for weekdays and separate setting/schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

5+2 thermostat: It is for those who want to set one program for weekdays and one for weekends.

1-week thermostat: This model repeats the same setting through a week and is not as efficient as other models in the market.


Clear the clutter around HVAC appliances - 6 dangers!

You don't see HVAC appliances in sight as you visit someone. And you know the reason. They are kept in places which are out of sight. For instance, garage, attic, closet or most commonly basement. And these are the places where all the other stuff is thrown out which the homeowners wishes to hide. Though common, this is a deadly practice. And while the professional's endorsement of keeping the space around HVAC appliances goes unheard, it could take lives. This blog is dedicated to making your HVAC space safe. Be mindful of all the pieces of advice made here and the consequences of cluttering your HVAC space.

1. Inadequate air flow 

When the surrounding of heating or cooling appliances is teamed with random stuff, the airflow is affected. And while you might already know that these appliances particularly the heating appliances need adequate supply of air in order to work efficiently. So, the immediate effect of a clutter filled surrounding is the affected efficiency of the appliance.

2. Off-gassing and bad IAQ

Items like sprays, paints and other chemicals emit fumes. This emission sometimes speeds up as a result of the heat produced by the HVAC appliances. These fumes spread rapidly all over the home and impact the indoor air quality. Sometimes the IAQ deteriorates so much that the indoor is more polluted than the outdoor. This off-gassing causes allergies, asthma and raises several other health concerns.

3. Danger of flammable items

Chemical fumes is one danger and flammable items yet another. You most often see the Furnace surrounded with card-boards, wooden items, small bottles of sprays etc. And all of these are a big big sign of danger. Once they catch fire, it if difficult to manage it. Also, some particular chemicals can undergo chemical reaction with the Furnace components and damage them.
At least a two feet of area around the Furnace should be kept cleared and specially of such flammable items.

4. No laundry around HVAC!

Strictly avoid washing lines close to Furnace as well as water heater. Even if they are not proper washing lines, people sometimes randomly hang or place clothes near the Furnace or Water Heater to dry. Similar to the wood or paper, cloths can also catch fire and even if they don't, hanging cloths close to these appliances definitely impedes the air flow.

5. Dust is the biggest culprit 

Did you know, the most of the Furnace fire incidents take place as a result of dust? Oh yes, the dust which clogs the system results in poor air flow which leads to short circuiting and fires. So the care of all cares is to clean! And clean regularly. Even during the off peak seasons, consider cleaning the appliance once every month so that it does not get dirty enough to set itself on fire (in anger).

6. Emergencies are difficult to handle with clutter 

Imagine if God forbid, an emergency situation arises, how much of the time would be wasted clearing the clutter? Emergencies become even difficult to manage when the surroundings of an appliance is full of clutter. It is just synonymous with putting yourself at risk.

If you're a concerned homeowner, you definitely do not wish to risk yourself or your home. And they say, prevention is better than cure. So better prevent yourself from such deadly situations instead of trying to cure them later. 


Air Duct Cleaning – What You Should Know

Indoor air pollution is a matter of increased concern and visibility. There are a plethora of companies marketing the products and services intended to improve the indoor air quality. Such companies have approached many homeowners and truth be told, duct cleaning services have made a massive growth in recent years because their role in pristine indoor air quality is imperative.

Wondering if duct cleaning is worth the money spent? Firstly NOT every homeowner needs to have their ducts cleaned. To help you be informed, whether you are the one who needs a thorough inspection, we have made a comprehensive guide, where you’ll learn:

- What is air duct cleaning?
- How does air duct cleaning work?
- How often you need to have the air duct cleaned?
- What can air duct cleaning cost you?
- The possible health benefits

What is air duct cleaning? 

Air duct cleaning is a process where various parts of the forced air heating and cooling system are professionally cleaned to eliminate dust, bacteria, and other particles. A cleaner along with air ducts thoroughly cleans the other parts like fan motor, condensate drip pans, heat exchangers, grilles, diffusers, supply and return ducts, and registers. 

How does the air cleaning process work?

Contaminants using the agitation devices are removed from the HVAC surface in the first place. Next, a vacuum system is used to remove the loosened particles.
It is essential to build a sanction that keeps the movement of particles one-directional and which is into the vacuum hose. During the whole process, the system is kept in a negative pressure to stop air from escaping into the other part of the house. The technician also uses chemical biocides to kill the bacteria inside the ducts. 

How often you need to have the duct cleaned?

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency do not recommend to include duct cleaning in the annual home maintenance routine. We never like to breathe the air that moves through filthy or dust-covered passages? Therefore, immediately call a technician when you observe the excessive dust, vermin, mold, restricted airflow or water damage. The best part is most of the dust gets stick to the surface and does not move into the living space; that’s why we recommend to have the ducts cleaned after every few years. 

What a duct cleaning cost you?

The cost of duct cleaning will not be the same for everyone. The cost estimation is done by knowing the size of the home in square feet, number of storeys and supply registers and also the size of the HVAC equipment, level of contamination and how long the job can take. 

The possible health benefits

Dust inside the home builds up with various dust mites, pollen, pet fur, and more, the springing of these particles can result in many health-related problems. Having air ducts cleaned benefits your health as asthma and allergic symptoms are more likely to trigger when you breathe in dirty air.
Get your duct cleaned! 


Why AC’s airflow suddenly Got Weak

It is miserable to find yourself in the middle of hot summer days with AC not blowing cold air. We can imagine the situation when you come back home after a long hot summer day and expect to unwind in your cooled down space, yet you suddenly realize the air coming from AC is not what you expected, and the temperature inside your home is as HOT as outside.
Hold on! Don’t need to keep your family worried and uncomfortable. Walk out through the following methods to figure out the problems before things get unbearable.  
AC not blowing hard

Why is My AC not blowing hard?:

When the weather is consistently heating up, the worst nightmare one could ever have is to deal with unexpected problems with home comfort like AC not blowing hard.  Ideally, the vent should blow strong and consistent air. And in any case, you sense that air coming out of vents is uneven and weak, then there is an issue with the system that needs to be diagnosed quickly. 
We recommend performing DIY maintenance before calling an expert technician to home. 
In the first place, make sure the problem is with the vents and secondly, there is no hindrance coming in the ways of vents that restrict the flow of air in any way. Moreover, ensure there is no visible problem with the evaporator coil, and flex ducts are not worn down. Lastly, check the dampers are open and functioning properly. 

The common issues when AC is not blowing hard: 

Follow the do-it-yourself checks and if the problem persists don’t hesitate to call a professional. 

Replace broken Fans:

Every homeowner needs to retreat to the safety of home and when you see irregularity or uneven air from the vents, then consider changing the broken fans. When blower motor is crushed, or fan blades are covered with excessive dust then do the following:

Solution: Turn off the ac and find the blower motor and clean if there is any dust. 

Clogged air filters:

One of the most obvious issues of impaired air flow could be clogged air filters. When homeowners don’t timely change the filters, it is more likely that the dirt, debris may start developing and obstructing the proper flow out of the system. It not just brings the problem with the air conditioner but also increase the chances of respiratory disorders.

Solution: Change the air filters.

Frozen evaporator coil:

Are you experiencing a problem in Air Conditioner, coil might be to blame? The evaporator coil is the component of air conditioner which performs a function to cool air. Sometimes, it gets over cold, and the humidity of your home converts it into a frozen evaporator coil. 

Solution: Turn off the AC and let ice to melt, ensure return gates are all open and clean air filters if they are dirty. 

When to call an HVAC professional:

In the worst-case scenarios, you must call an HVAC professional, especially when the problem is with air ducts like ducts are leaky, have holes, or the system suffers from other technical or mechanical malfunctionings.